Speakers

Ellen Blum Barish received her BA and master’s degrees from Northwestern University, and has worked as a reporter, feature writer, editor, proofreader, and editorial consultant at newspapers, magazines, non-profits, corporations, universities and foundations. She has taught writing in a number of adult education venues and Chicago-area universities, including Northwestern. She is the editor of Thread. (May 8, 3pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Owner of the Evanston bookstore Bookends & Beginnings, Nina Barrett has written three books on motherhood and women’s issues that were published by Simon & Schuster, including I Wish Someone Had Told Me: A Realistic Guide to Early Motherhood, which is now available from Chicago Review Press, and The Playgroup: Three Women Contend with the Myths of Motherhood—a chapter of which is excerpted in Her Own Accord, newly published by The Great Books Foundation. Also trained as a professional chef, she contributed the series “Fear of Frying” to Chicago NPR affiliate WBEZ, which earned the James Beard Award for radio reporting in 2012 and 2013. (May 8, 3pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

J. Max Barry is an Evanston native currently working, writing, and folding origami in Chicago. A poem of his was included in the anthology, A Writer’s Congress: Chicago Poets on Barack Obama’s Inauguration. He has recently written a critical analysis of the hand imagery in Emily Dickinson’s poems. (May 7, 6:30pm, Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave.)

Gloria Bond-Clunie is the founder of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre and an internationally recognized playwright and recipient of a 2011 Medallion Award from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. She is a member of the Playwriting Ensemble at the Victory Gardens Theater, where her plays North Star, Living Green and Shoes premiered. Other works include Drip; Secrets; the musical Sing, Malindy, Sing!; Merry Kwanzaa; Dreams; Smoke; Quark (a STAGE finalist); and an adaptation of Patricia McKissack’s Mirandy and Brother Wind. She has been given the Evanston Mayor’s Award for the Arts. (May 8, 3pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Richard Cahan is a journalist who writes about photography, art, and history. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1983 to 1999, primarily serving as the paper’s picture editor. He left to found and direct CITY 2000, a project that documented Chicago in the year 2000. Since then, he has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books, including Edgar Miller and the Handmade Home and two books about the beloved photographer Vivian Maier. He also works as a curator, creating photo and exhibitions at Chicago museums. His exhibit Vivian Maier’s Chicago is now in its fourth year at the Chicago History Museum. Richard and Michael Williams are also co-publishers of CityFiles Press, which strives to produce meaningful books that have emotional and artistic impact. They are now at work on a book entitled Un-American, a new look at government photographs that document the internment of Japanese Americans. (May 12, 7pm, Perspective Gallery, 1310 Chicago Ave.)

Alexander Chee was born in Rhode Island, and raised in South Korea, Guam and Maine. He is a recipient of the 2003 Whiting Writers’ Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in Fiction and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Ledig House, the Hermitage and Civitella Ranieri. His first novel, Edinburgh (Picador, 2002), was a winner of the Michener Copernicus Prize, the AAWW Lit Award and the Lambda Editor’s Choice Prize, and was a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year and a Booksense 76 selection. In 2003, Out Magazine honored him as one of their 100 Most Influential People of the Year. He has taught fiction and nonfiction writing at the New School University, Wesleyan, Amherst College, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives in New York City and blogs at Koreanish. His second novel, The Queen of the Night, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (May 12, 3:30 and 5:30, Northwestern Writers’ Festival, Hinman Auditorium at the Hotel Orrington, 1710 Orrington Ave.)

Stuart Cohen is a practicing architect, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an educator and an architectural historian. He is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of four books on the history of Chicago architecture, most recently, Inventing the New American House: Howard Van Doren Shaw Architect. His architectural work has been widely published and has been included in the architecture section of the Venice Biennale. The residential work of his firm was the subject of a 2009 monograph, Transforming the Traditional: The Work of Cohen & Hacker Architects. A new house they built in Evanston is featured in the current issue of Evanston magazine. (May 10, 6pm, Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood St.)

Brian Cremins is an Associate Professor of English at Harper College in Palatine. His essays on comics have appeared in publications including Studies in American Humor, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Alter Ego, and in the collection Comics and the U. S. South. The University Press of Mississippi will publish his first book, Captain Marvel and the Art of Nostalgia (featuring a cover by Keiler Roberts) in 2017. He also serves as a Programming Coordinator for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE). (May 7, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-founder of the Character Lab. An expert in non-I.Q. competencies like grit and self-control, she was awarded a 2013 “Genius” Grant and has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Her TED talk on grit has garnered nearly seven million views, and her first book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, was published in May 2016. She has been profiled in the New York Times Magazine, Psychology Today, and National Geographic, which calls her “a born giver who’s driven by an impulse to do good in the world and right inequities.” Before her career in research, Duckworth was an award-winning math and science teacher as well as the founder of a summer school for low-income children that was profiled as a case study nonprofit by Harvard Kennedy School. She completed her BA in neurobiology at Harvard, her MSc in neuroscience at Oxford, and her PhD in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. (May 11, 3:30pm, Northside College Preparatory School, 5501 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago; 7pm, New Trier High School, Gaffney Auditorium, 385 Winnetka Ave., Winnetka)

Dina Elenbogen, an award winning poet and prose writer, is author of the memoir Drawn from Water: An American Poet, an Ethiopian Family, an Israeli Story (BKMK Press, University of Missouri April 2015) and the poetry collection Apples of the Earth (Spuyten Duyvil, NY). She received two fellowships and an award from the Illinois Arts Council. Her work has been published in magazines including December (recipient of the 2014 Jeff Marks Memorial Award judged by Stephen Berg)  Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, TIkkun, Bellevue Literary Review,  Rhino, Paterson Literary Review, New City Chicago, and anthologies such as Lost on the Map of the World (Peter Lang, NY), Where We Find Ourselves (SUNYPress), City of the Big Shoulders (University of Iowa Press), Beyond Lament (Northwestern University Press.) and Brute Neighbors (De Paul Humanities Center). She teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago Graham School. (May 14, 5:30pm, Unicorn Cafe, 1723 Sherman Ave.)

Marsha Estell is an accomplished actor and playwright; Fleetwood Jourdain Theater produced her hit play Heat (finalist in the Dayton Playhouse Future-Fest and Theodore Ward Award for African American Playwrights) and her critically acclaimed one-woman play Big Butt Girls and Other Fantasies/The Remix. She is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and a 2010-2011 3Arts fellow. Her plays also include Mama said there’ll be days like this – The History of the Girl Groups, Before I Wake, Edge, and What You Need To Know (commissioned by Next Theatre, based on workshops with Evanston residents on the subject of education). (May 8, 3pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Donald Evans is Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Executive Director. He is the author of the novel Good Money After Bad and editor of the anthology Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year. (May 5, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Elizabeth Fenn is the Walter and Lucienne Driskill Professor of Western American History at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her field of study is the early American West, focusing on epidemic disease, Native American, and environmental history. Her 2001 book Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 unearthed the devastating effects of a smallpox epidemic that coursed across the North American continent during the years of the American Revolution. In 2014, Fenn published Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People, which analyzes Mandan Indian history from 1100 to 1845. Fenn is now at work on an expansive biography of Sakagawea, using her life story to illuminate the wider history of the northern plains and Rockies. Fenn is also the coauthor, with Peter H. Wood, of Natives and Newcomers: The Way We Lived in North Carolina before 1770, a popular history of early North Carolina which appeared in 1983. In April 2015, she was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in History for her book, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People. (May 12, 4:30pm, Northwestern Room, Norris Student Center, 1999 Campus Dr.)

Pamela Ferdinand is the co-author of Three Wishes: Our True Story of Good Friends, Crushing Heartbreak, and Astonishing Luck on Our Way to Love and Motherhood. An award-winning journalist for magazines, websites, and major U.S. newspapers–including the Boston Globe, Miami Herald, and Washington Post–for more than a decade, she has contributed to The Economist, Boston Magazine, National Geographic News, Slate, and The Daily Mail, among many others. She was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003-2004. She has bachelors’ degrees in political science and Soviet/East European Affairs from Tufts University as well as masters’ degrees in Slavonic and East European studies from the University of London and journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has also taught journalism, writing, editing and publishing at Emerson College, Boston University, DePaul University, and Lake Forest College. (May 8, 1pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Alison Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the author of Exoneree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence and Identity. Her year-long Chicago Public Media series was a finalist for a national Online Journalism Award in 2014. Flowers is a Social Justice News Nexus fellow and works at the Invisible Institute on the South Side of Chicago. (May 14, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Amina Gautier is the author of three award-winning short story collections: At-Risk, Now We Will Be Happy, and the The Loss of All Lost Things. At-Risk was awarded the Flannery O’Connor Award, The First Horizon Award, and the Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction Award. Now We Will Be Happy was awarded the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Award and a USA Best Book Award. The Loss of All Lost Things was awarded the Elixir Press Award in Fiction. Gautier’s stories have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Agni, Callaloo, Glimmer Train, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, and StoryQuarterly. For her individual short stories, Gautier has been the recipient of the Crazyhorse Prize, the Danahy Fiction Prize, the Jack Dyer Prize, the William Richey Prize, the Schlafly Microfiction Award, and the Lamar York Prize in Fiction. She has also received grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. A recent former professor at DePaul University, she currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Miami and now divides her time between Miami and Chicago. (May 9, 7pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Chris Green is the author of The Sky Over Walgreens, Epiphany School, and Résumé. His poetry has appeared in such publications as Poetry, The New York Times, New Letters, and Nimrod. He’s edited four anthologies, including I Remember: Chicago Veterans of War. He teaches in the English Department at DePaul University. (May 14, 5:30pm, Unicorn Cafe, 1723 Sherman Ave.)

Ralph Hamilton is editor of RHINO. He has an MFA in Poetry from Bennington. His poems have appeared in Court Green, CutBank, Pirene’s Fountain, Blackbird, The Ilanot Review, and elsewhere. He judged Fifth Wednesday Journal’s (FWJ) poetry prize in Fall 2013, and served as FWJ’s guest poetry editor in 2014. His first book of poems, Teaching a Man to Unstick His Tail (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015) was listed among the top 10 poetry books of 2015 by the Over the Rainbow Books Committee of the American Library Association, and is now a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. In 2015 Ralph was also nominated for Best New Poets and a Pushcart Prize. He has just finished co-editing the debut volume of Glass Lyre Press’s Aeolian Harp Anthology. (May 7, 6:30pm, Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave.)

Kris Hartzell is Director of Facilities, Visitor Services and Collections at the National Historic Landmark Charles Gates Dawes House. She served as Vice Chair of the Evanston Preservation Commission and as President and restoration advisor of the National Historic Landmark Frances Willard House. She wrote her thesis on Evanston architect Myron Hunt and is in talks about publishing a book on Hunt and his role in creating the Prairie School and suburban residential architecture. She has a Certificate in Historic Preservation from Northwestern University and a Master’s of Science in Historic Preservation from SAIC. (May 10, 6pm, Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood St.)

Kelly Hayes is Truthout’s community engagement associate. Kelly is a direct action trainer and a co-founder of The Chicago Light Brigade and Lifted Voices. She is the author of the blog Transformative Spaces, and her movement photography is featured in the “Freedom and Resistance” exhibit of the DuSable Museum of African American History. (May 14, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Brian Hieggelke is the founder and president/CEO of Newcity, a Chicago-based company operating in print, digital and social media environments. He also serves as editor and co-publisher. Newcity announced a project to make a feature film for its thirtieth anniversary. In 2015, it launched NewcityBrazil.com, covering the visual art culture of São Paulo and beyond. Hieggelke, who has written about media, politics, running, books, film, art, music, food, fashion, theater and dance, was awarded the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists for a weekly media column, Press Relief. Hieggelke has written two short plays that have been produced by American Blues Theater as part of its “Ripped” festival. He lives in Chicago, is married and has three children. (May 9, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Book of My Lives, The Making of Zombie Wars, and The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award.  He has published three collections of short stories: The Question of Bruno; Nowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Love and Obstacles.  Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for a matter of months. While he was there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. Hemon wrote his first story in English in 1995. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation in 2004. (May 6, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Heidrun Hoppe is the principal and owner of the Evanston-based architecture firm Heidrun Hoppe Associates, which specializes in designing facilities for children and communities, most especially in the not-for-profit sector. She is a LEED Accredited Professional. A director on the board of Design Evanston, she is enthusiastic about DE’s mission to encourage excellent design and intelligent planning in her adopted city. Heidi has been a volunteer with the Historic Preservation Commission and is a serious road cyclist and member of the Evanston Bike Club. To combine her interests in architecture and cycling, Heidi has led several bike tours of architectural sites, including tours for Design Evanston. (May 10, 6pm, Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood St.)

Ann Hudson‘s first book, The Armillary Sphere, was chosen by Mary Kinzie for the Hollis Summers Prize and was published by Ohio University Press. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Chautauqua, Cider Press Review, Crab Orchard Review, North American Review, Orion, Rhino, Spoon River Poetry Review, Seattle Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Evanston, and teaches at Chiaravalle Montessori School. (May 7, 6:30pm, Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave.)

Julia Claiborne Johnson is the author of Be Frank With Me: A Novel. She worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children. (May 8, 4pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Sylvester A. Johnson is Associate Professor of African American Studies and Religious Studies at Northwestern University. His research examines religion, race, and empire in Atlantic geographies since the 1500s; American religion and sexuality; and the humanistic challenges posed by intelligent machines. He has most recently authored African American Religions, 1500–2000: Colonialism, Democracy, and Freedom (Cambridge University Press 2015). (May 7, 3pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Parneshia Jones is the author of Vessel: Poems (Milkweed Editions). She was raised in Evanston, and spent her childhood in the Evanston Public Library and her mother’s kitchen. After studying creative writing at Chicago State University, earning an MFA from Spalding University, and studying publishing at Yale University, Jones has been honored with the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Margaret Walker Short Story Award, and the Aquarius Press Legacy Award. Her work has also been anthologized in She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems, edited by Caroline Kennedy and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, edited by Nikky Finney. A member of the Affrilachian Poets, she serves on the board of Cave Canem and Global Writes. She currently holds positions as Sales and Subsidiary Rights Manager and Poetry Editor at Northwestern University Press. (May 7, 5pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Travis Jonker has been an elementary school librarian in Michigan since 2005. In 2007, he started the children’s literature blog 100 Scope Notes. He reviews for School Library Journal, and has been a judge for the Cybils Awards. (May 7, 2pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Blair Kamin is the architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, a post he has held since 1992. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Kamin also serves as a contributing editor of Architectural Record magazine. Born in Red Bank, N.J., Kamin is a graduate of Amherst College, from which he received a Bachelor of Arts with honors in 1979, and the Yale University School of Architecture, from which he received a Master of Environmental Design in 1984. In 2012-13, he was a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Kamin holds honorary degrees from Monmouth University and North Central College, where he serves as an adjunct professor of art. The University of Chicago Press has published two collections of his columns, Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago and Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age. He also wrote the commentaries for Tribune Tower: American Landmark, a guide to the newspaper’s neo-Gothic skyscraper published in 2000, and was co-author of The Gates of Harvard Yard, a Nieman Foundation e-book. Kamin is the recipient of more than 30 awards, including the Pulitzer, which he received in 1999 for a body of work highlighted by a series of articles about the problems and promise of Chicago’s greatest public space, its lakefront. Among his other honors are the George Polk Award for Criticism (1996), the American Institute of Architects’ Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement (1999) and the AIA’s Presidential Citation, conferred in 2004 in appreciation of the “rhapsodies and scoldings” that have brought architecture to the attention of Chicago’s public. (May 4, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Laura Kasischke (pronounced Ka-ZISS-kee) was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, 2012. She has published nine novels, three of which have been made into feature films—“The Life Before Her Eyes,” “Suspicious River, “White Bird in a Blizzard”—and eight books of poetry, most recently Space, in Chains. Her poetry collection The Infinitesimals was be published in 2014. She has also published the short story collection If a Stranger Approaches You. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as several Pushcart Prizes and numerous poetry awards and her writing has appeared in Best American Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Harper’s and The New Republic. She has a son and step-daughter and lives with her family and husband in Chelsea, Michigan. She is the Allan Seager Collegiate Professor of English Language & Literature at the University of Michigan. (May 11, 5:30, and May 12, 3:30, Northwestern Writers’ Festival, Hinman Auditorium at the Hotel Orrington, 1710 Orrington Ave.)

Nambi E. Kelley has penned plays for Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, and Court Theatre in Chicago, Lincoln Center in New York, and internationally. Most recently, Kelley’s adaption of Native Son was a critically acclaimed success at the Court Theatre in Chicago. Kelley recently returned to Singapore to perform in her co-adaptation of The Book of Living and Dying that will be published in an anthology of plays in Singapore in 2014. Recent playwriting honors include: Goodman Theatre Playwright’s Unit where she penned For Her As A Piano for which she received an award for mental health advocacy,  Xtigone (American Theatre of Harlem workshop production) and Harlem 9’s 48 Hours in Harlem Playwright 2013. She also serves as a Chicago Dramatists Playwright-In-Residence, and is playwright emeritus with MPAACT, Chicago. Also an actress, she has worked on stage and television in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and internationally, playing opposite such artists as Phylicia Rashad, Alfre Woodard, Blair Underwood, and Patrick Swayze. She guest lectures at Lake Forest College, has a BFA from The Theatre School at De Paul University, and holds an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College in Vermont. (May 5, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Steven Lubet is the Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Memorial Professor of Law at Northwestern University. As Director of the Law School’s award winning Bartlit Center on Trial Advocacy, he teaches courses on Legal Ethics, Trial Advocacy, Lawyer Memoirs, and Narrative Structures. The author of fifteen books and over 100 articles on legal ethics, judicial ethics, and litigation, he has also published widely in the areas of legal history, international criminal law, dispute resolution, and legal education. His new book, The “Colored Hero” of Harper’s Ferry, is out now from Cambridge University Press.(May 7, 3pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Sarah Macaraeg, based in Chicago, is an independent journalist and fellow with New America Media and with Investigative Reporters and Editors. Her work has been cited by Al Jazeera America, Best American Essays, ColorLines, Crain’s Chicago Business, Fusion, and Vice. She is on Twitter at @seramak. (May 14, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Barbara Mahany, a former pediatric oncology nurse, spent nearly three decades as a reporter and writer at the Chicago Tribune. She is now a freelance journalist and author of a collection of essays, Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door (Abingdon Press, October 2014). (May 8, 2pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Page May is a Chicago-based organizer and abolitionist with We Charge Genocide, BYP100 and Assata’s Daughters. She is one of the eight youth delegates who traveled to the United Nations and the lead author of the shadow report submitted to the UN Committee Against Torture. (May 14, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

John McCarthy is the author of Ghost County (MG Press, 2016), poems that chronicle life in the Midwest. He was recently selected by Pulitzer Prize poet Tracy K. Smith for inclusion in the Best New Poets anthology of 2015. His other poems have appeared in Redivider, The Minnesota Review, RHINO, Oyez Review, Salamander, and The Pinch. He edited the anthology [Ex]tinguished & [Ex]tinct (Twelve Winters Press, 2014). He currently serves as the Managing Editor of Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public Radio-Program and is currently an MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is originally from Springfield, Illinois. (May 14, 5:30pm, Unicorn Cafe, 1723 Sherman Ave.)

Pam Miller has published four books of poetry, most recently Miss Unthinkable (Mayappple Press). Her poems have appear in Olentangy Review, Poetry Super Highway, OVS, Concho River Review, After Hours, Circe’s Lament: Anthology of Wild Women, and elsewhere. She works as a freelance writer and editor in Chicago. (May 7, 6:30pm, Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave.) 

Anne Elizabeth Moore is an award-winning journalist, best-selling comics anthologist, and internationally lauded cultural critic. Her book Unmarketable was named a Best Book of 2007 by Mother Jones. Cambodian Grrrl won a 2012 Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism. She is the former editor of seminal, award-winning Punk Planet and the founding editor of the Best American Comics. She has exhibited work in the Whitney Biennial in New York; in Leipzig, Phnom Penh, Berlin, Tbilisi, and Vienna; and in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. She is a Fulbright Scholar, UN Press Fellow, and USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. (May 7, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Toni Nealie is a creative nonfiction writer who also writes about writing, and teaches writing and media classes in Chicago. Her first collection of essays, The Miles Between Me, is published by Curbside Splendor and her work has appeared in Newcity, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Offing, The Prague Revue and elsewhere. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Literature, a Certificate of Journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Originally from New Zealand, she has worked in journalism and public relations in Auckland, London, Singapore and Chicago. She is the Lit Editor for Newcity. (May 5, 6pm, and May 8, 2pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Audrey Niffenegger trained as a visual artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and received her MFA from Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice in 1991. Her books include The Adventuress, The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Her Fearful Symmetry, The Night Bookmobile, and Raven Girl. She helped to found the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, and has also taught for the Newberry Library, Penland School of Craft, Haystack, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently working on a sequel to The Time Traveler’s Wife, as well as a novel called The Chinchilla Girl in Exile and artwork for an exhibition at Printworks Gallery in September 2016. (May 6, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Maggie Olson is a wellness coach and blogger who leads journal writing workshops and groups in Evanston and Chicago. (May 10, 1pm, Cultivate Urban Rainforest and Gallery, 704 Main St.)

Christina Pugh is the author of four books of poems:  Perception (Four Way Books, forthcoming in 2017), Grains of the Voice (Northwestern University Press, 2013), Restoration (Northwestern University Press, 2008), and Rotary (Word Press, 2004), which received the Word Press First Book Prize.  Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, and many other periodicals.  In 2015, she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, as well as a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship.  Her previous awards have included the Lucille Medwick Award from the Poetry Society of America, a poetry fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council, and the Grolier Poetry Prize.  She is a professor in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and consulting editor for Poetry. (May 14, 5:30pm, Unicorn Cafe, 1723 Sherman Ave.)

Michael Raleigh is a lifelong Chicagoan and the author of nine novels, including Peerless Detective (Diversion Books, 2015). He grew up on the north side of Chicago and attended DePaul University. He taught at Truman College, and currently teaches in the Freshman Writing Program at DePaul University. He also received four Illinois Arts Council grants for fiction writing. He has been married for more than 30 years to his wife Katherine, and they have three children. (May 5, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Tania Richard is the author of the one-woman play Truth Be Told, which was commissioned and produced by Fleetwood-Jourdain Theater; she is an accomplished actor and playwright. (May 8, 3pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Ross Ritchell is a former soldier in a United States Special Operations Command direct-action team conducting classified operations in the Middle East. Upon his discharge, he enrolled at Northwestern University, where he earned an MFA. He is the author of the novel The Knife. (May 7, 5pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Ed Roberson is the author of numerous books of poetry, including To See the Earth Before the End of the World (2010), which was a runner up for the Los Angeles Times Poetry Award; The New Wing of the Labyrinth (2009); City Eclogue (2006); Atmosphere Conditions (1999), which was chosen by Nathaniel Mackey for the National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Award; Just In: Word of Navigational Change: New and Selected Work (1998); and Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In (1995), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. His earlier collections include Etai-Eken (1975) and When Thy King is a Boy (1970). Roberson’s honors include the Lila Wallace Writers’ Award and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Award. His work has been included in Best American Poetry. Roberson lives in Chicago, where he has taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, and Northwestern University. (May 5, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Keiler Roberts has presented at TCAF, SPX, Autoptic, CXC, and Chicago Zine Fest. Her autobiographical comic, Powdered Milk, has received three Ignatz Award nominations and was included in The Best American Comics 2014 and 2015 Notables List. Her work has been published in The Chicago Reader, Mutha Magazine, Nat. Brut, Darling Sleeper, and Newcity. She was a special guest at CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Festival) in 2015, and at Chicago Zine Fest 2013. Her newest book, Miseryland, has been reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly, the Comics Journal, Broken Frontier, and more. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul University. (May 7, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Kenyatta Rogers was the 2012-2013 Visiting Poet in English, at Columbia College Chicago where he also earned his MFA in Creative Writing Poetry. He is a Cave Canem fellow and was twice nominated for both Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes, his work has been previously published in or is forthcoming from Jubilat, Bat City Review, Vinyl, Rhino Poetry, The Volta among others. He is an Associate Editor with RHINO and currently serves on the Creative Writing Faculty at The Chicago High School for the Arts. (May 7, 6:30pm, Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave.)

Alfonso “Piloto” Nieves Ruiz is a self-taught artist from Queretaro, Mexico who moved to Chicago in 1997. He is a skilled sculptor who works primarily with clay and recycled materials to create dramatic, surreal pieces that deal with social issues. While Nieves draws upon his Mexican upbringing for many of his sculptures, the themes he explores are universal to all of humanity. Piloto is also an art teacher and has been sharing his knowledge with youth and adults through workshops in community centers, parks, and schools around Chicago and its suburbs since 2004. Most recently he exhibited his work in Cabeza de Barro, one of the most successful shows at the National Museum of Mexican Art. (May 14, 2pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Sharman Apt Russell is a nature/science writer. Her topics include citizen science, living in place, archaeology, flowers, butterflies, hunger, and pantheism. Her recent nonfiction Diary of a Citizen Scientist (Oregon State University Press, 2014) won the WILLA Award and was listed by The Guardian as a top ten nature book of 2014. Her next book will build on ideas from Hunger: An Unnatural History (Basic Books, 2005) and return to the world of food aid and childhood malnutrition. Tentatively titled Within Our Grasp, this is a story of recent paradigm shifts that could both end the misery of chronic malnutrition and slow population growth. Other awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Writers at Work Fellowship, and the Henry Joseph Jackson Award. Her work has been translated into a dozen languages. In fiction, her historical fantasy YA Teresa of the New World won the Arizona Author’s Award and her science fiction Knocking on Heaven’s Door, set in a Paleoterrific future, was released in January, 2016. (May 10, 5:30, and May 12, 3:30, Northwestern Writers’ Festival, Hinman Auditorium at the Hotel Orrington, 1710 Orrington Ave.)

Ozge Samanci is an assistant professor at Northwestern University in the Department of Radio/Television/Film. She has an extensive background in comics and media arts and is a published comics artist. Her interactive-digital media installations and other collaborative works have been exhibited in numerous venues internationally including SIGGRAPH, ISEA, Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE), Tangible and Embedded Interaction (TEI), Tech Museum at San Jose, WRO Media Art Biennial, Athens International Festival of Digital Arts and New Media, Eyedrum Gallery, Evanston Art Center. Her analog installations and images have been exhibited at University of California Botanical Gardens, Art House Coop, Sycamore Place Gallery, Gallery KG52 in Stockholm, Armory Center for Arts, Worth Ryder Art Gallery and Arcade Gallery. Her areas of interest include interactive art, interactive narrative, interaction design, full-body interaction, comics and graphic novels, digital-interactive media theory, and location-based art. She authored the book Animasyonun Onlenemez Yukselisi (The Irresistible Rise of Animation), published by Istanbul Bilgi University Publications. Her autobiographical graphic novel, Dare to Disappoint, was published by Farrar Straus and Giroux. (May 7, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Jacob Saenz is a CantoMundo fellow whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pinwheel, Poetry, Spoon River Poetry Review and Tammy. Saenz was also one of the poets featured in the anthology, The Open Door: One Hundred Poems, One Hundred Years of Poetry Magazine. Among other distinctions, he received a fellowship from the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in 2014. A Chicago native, Jacob is currently completing his first book of poems. He serves as an associate editor for RHINO. (May 7, 6:30pm, Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave.)

Laura Saviano is the Marketing Principal for Ross Barney Architects. She is a tireless advocate for Public Art in her adopted City of Evanston, Illinois. She served as Chair of the Public Art Committee in Evanston for many years. The Committee administers the City’s Percent-For-Art Program, placing works of art in and around new buildings and projects. She is a founding director of the not-for-profit organization, Friends of the Arts, that raises awareness and funding for Public Art initiatives in Evanston. (May 10, 6pm, Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood St.)

Maya Schenwar is Truthout’s editor-in-chief. She is also the author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better. Her work on the criminal legal system has been published on Truthout and in the New York Times, the Guardian and the Nation, among others. (May 14, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Davis Schneiderman is the author or editor of 10 books. His recent novels include the DEAD/BOOKS trilogy (Jaded Ibis), including the blank novel BLANK, the plagiarized novel [SIC], and the ink-smeared novel INK.; as well as the novel Drain (Northwestern). He co-edited the collections Retaking the Universe: Williams S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization (Pluto 2004,RealityStudio.com 2014), The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism’s Parlor Game (Nebraska, 2009); and The &NOW AWARDS: The Best Innovative Writing (vols. 1 and 2). Schneiderman’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Fiction International, Harpers.org, The Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, and Exquisite Corpse; he blogs for The Huffington Post. He is Associate Dean of the Faculty and Director of the Center for Chicago Programs, as well as Professor of English and Director of Lake Forest College Press/ &NOW Books at Lake Forest College. He is director of a four-year $800,000 Mellon Foundation grant, Digital Chicago: Unearthing History and Culture. He just taught a course on “Selfies and Drones” and is preparing to teach “The Grateful Dead and American Culture.” (May 9, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) is a blogger, a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs. (May 7, 2pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Doug Seibold is founder and president of Evanston-based Agate Publishing. In 2012, Agate was recognized as the fastest-growing independent publisher in America by Publishers Weekly and counts recent winners of the James Beard, Pulitzer and National Book Award prizes among their authors. Agate is continuing to grow by exploring an expansion into young adult and children’s books, and a partnership with the Chicago Tribune, now branching into sports books. (May 9, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Colby Sharp is a husband, father of three, and a third grade teacher. He blogs about reading and hosts a podcast, The Yarn. (May 7, 2pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Gili Sherman–art teacher, Hebrew teacher and writer–spent her childhood shuttling between the US, the UK, and America. Her memoir-writing focuses upon a time that she was losing her mother and raising three little girls and the wonderful people who provided mothering during that time. (May 8, 1pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Cynthia Sherry is publisher of Chicago Review Press, where she acquires books, oversees the editorial and book production of about 65 titles a year under five imprints, including Lawrence Hill Books, Ball Publishing, Zephyr Press, and Academy Chicago, and manages an editorial, production, and publicity staff of 14. She has been with Chicago Review Press since 1989. She has held financial management as well as executive editorial positions at Independent Publishers Group and Chicago Review Press. (May 9, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Patricia Skalka is the author of Death Stalks Door County and Death at Gills Rock, the first two books in the popular Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery series. Skalka, a Chicago writer, turned to fiction following a successful career in nonfiction. Her many credits include: staff writer for Reader’s Digest, freelancer, ghost writer, writing instructor and book reviewer. (May 13, 4pm, Creative Coworking, 922 Davis St.)

Lynn Sloan is the author of Principles of Navigation (Fomite, 2015). Lynn’s short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, American Literary Review, The Literary Review, Nimrod, Puerto del Sol, and Sou’wester, among other journals, and they have been nominated for the Pushcart Award, and finalists for the Dana Award, the Katherine Anne Porter prize, and the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition. Also a visual artist, Lynn’s fine art photographs have been widely exhibited and collected by museums, galleries, and private collections in the United States and abroad. She received her master’s degree from the Institute of Design, and taught in the photography department of Columbia College Chicago. She lives with her husband in Evanston. (May 13, 4pm, Creative Coworking, 922 Davis St.)

Freda Love Smith is a writer, drummer, and Northwestern University advisor, lecturer, and faculty-member-in-residence. She writes a monthly column for Paste Food, interviewing musicians about eating on the road and at home, and has written a food memoir, Red Velvet Underground. She was a founding member of the Boston band the Blake Babies, with Juliana Hatfield, and have since played with Antenna, The Mysteries of Life, Gentleman Caller, and Some Girls, among other bands. At Northwestern University she advises students in Radio/TV/Film and she teaches a seminar in Communication Studies titled, “Food, Communication, and Culture.” (May 8, 2pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Christine Sneed teaches creative writing for the MFA programs at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. Her third book is the novel Paris, He Said (Bloomsbury USA). Her first book, Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry, won AWP’s 2009 Grace Paley Prize, was awarded Ploughshares’ John C. Zacharis prize, Book of the Year by the Chicago Writers Association in the traditionally published fiction category, and was named a finalist for the 2010 Los Angeles Times book prize in the first-fiction category. Her second book, the novel Little Known Facts, won the Society of Midland Authors Award for best adult fiction 2013, and was named one of Booklist‘s top ten debut novels of 2013. She has received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in poetry, and is the recipient of the 2013 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation. (May 5, 6pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Megan Stielstra is the author of the essay collection Once I Was Cool—a Best of 2014 at Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and Salon—and Come Here Fear, forthcoming from Harper Perennial. Her work appears in the Best American Essays, Poets & Writers, Guernica, The Rumpus, and elsewhere, and she recently joined the New York Times as a contributing opinion writer. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she tells stories for all sorts of theaters, festivals, and bars (many, many bars) including the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Neo-Futurarium, Museum of Contemporary Art, and regularly with the Paper Machete live news magazine at the Green Mill, as well as Chicago Public Radio, National Public Radio, and Radio National Australia. She teaches creative nonfiction at Northwestern University. (May 7, 5pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Julia Sweeney was on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1994, starred in the film It’s Pat: The Movie, and created the acclaimed monologues God Said Ha! and Letting Go of God. Her first book, If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2013. (May 8, 4pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Angela Narciso Torres’s first book, Blood Orange, won the Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry. Recent work appears in Kyoto Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Colorado Review, and Drunken Boat. A graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Angela has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Illinois Arts Council, and Ragdale Foundation. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she serves as a senior poetry editor for RHINO, a publicity coordinator for Woman Made Gallery Literary Events, and a reader for New England Review. (May 7, 6:30pm, Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave.)

Monica Trinidad is a movement artist and organizer. In November 2014, Monica was one of eight delegates to travel to the United Nations to deliver a report on police violence against youth of color in Chicago. She is the founder of Brown and Proud Press, and organizes with We Charge Genocide. (May 14, 4pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

Jim Warner’s poetry has appeared pr is forthcoming in various journals, including, Crab Orchard Review, New South, [PANK], and Midwestern Gothic. He earned his MFA from Wilkes University. Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit, and part of the poetry faculty at Arcadia University. (May 7, 6:30pm, Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave.)

Rachel Jamison Webster grew up in the small town of Madison, Ohio, on Lake Erie and now lives in Evanston, where she teaches at Northwestern University. She is the author of September: Poems (Northwestern University Press, 2013), and a chapbook, The Blue Grotto (Dancing Girl Press, 2009). For several years, she designed and taught writing workshops for urban youth, helping to develop Words 37 with Chicago’s First Lady Maggie Daley and co-editing two anthologies of writing by young Chicagoans, Alchemy (2001) and Paper Atrium (2005). Rachel is also the editor and director of the online anthology of international poetry, UniVerse. Her most recent work with UniVerse has involved creating a radio series about poetry for Chicago Public Radio, called “The Gift.” She has won Emerging Artist awards from the Academy of American Poets, The American Association of University Women, The Poetry Center of Chicago and The Poetry Foundation. Her poems and essays are published in many anthologies and journals like Poetry, Narrative Magazine, The Southern Review, The Paris Review, and others, some of which can be found here. (May 14, 5:30pm, Unicorn Cafe, 1723 Sherman Ave.)

Jack Weiss has held designer positions at Low’s Incorporated, Chicago, and at the architectural firm of Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo Associates, Hamden, CT. He was Vice President of Blake & Weiss for ten years prior to forming Jack Weiss Associates in 1977. He is a fellow and past president of the Society of Typographic Arts, co-founder and president of the Chicago Design Archive and former chairman of the 27 Chicago Designers. He is a founding member and president of Design Evanston and currently vice chair of Evanston’s Preservation Commission. In 2014 he was presented the Mayor’s Award for the Arts for his long commitment to the arts in Evanston. He has served on the design faculties of the Institute of Design, IIT and Columbia College Chicago. (May 10, 6pm, Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood St.)

Michele Weldon is emerita faculty in journalism at the Medill School, Northwestern University, and is director of the Northwestern Public Voices Fellowship through The OpEd Project, where she is a senior leader. Weldon is the author of four nonfiction books, I Closed My Eyes (1999); Writing To Save Your Life (2001); Everyman News (2008); and her latest, Escape Points: A Memoir (2015). That book was named one of the best books of 2015 by Booklist of the American Library Association and was a finalist in the Society of Midland Authors Literary Awards for biography/memoir for 2015. She has contributed chapters in seven other books and anthologies. Her commentary appears regularly in outlets such as New York Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Medium, More.com, Narratively, Pacific Standard, Parenting, Quartz, Slate, Writer’s Digest and hundreds more. Weldon co-directed TEDX NorthwesternU 2014 and competed in the 2012 Moth Story Chicago GrandSlam in 2012. She is a frequent guest on radio, TV and digital sites. She is the mother of three grown sons and enjoys amateur roller derby under her derby name, “Mich The Masher.” (May 8, 3pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Alley #1)

Joyce Burns Zeiss became a member of Off Campus Writers Workshop after retiring from teaching junior high school. Her experiences with resettling a Chinese Cambodian refugee family in 1979 and her subsequent trips to work in refugee camps in Africa have fueled her interest in the plight of the refugee. Zeiss’ first novel, Out of the Dragon’s Mouth, is based on the true-life experiences of a fellow teacher who fled Vietnam as an adolescent to cross the South China Sea in the hold of a fishing boat. A graduate of Northwestern University, she also holds an M. A. from DePaul University in English, and a reading specialist degree from National Louis University. (May 13, 4pm, Creative Coworking, 922 Davis St.)

Zoe Zolbrod is the author of the new memoir The Telling (Curbside Splendor, 2016) and the novel Currency (Other Voices Books, 2010), which was a Friends of American Writers prize finalist. Her essays have appeared in Salon, Stir Journal, The Weeklings, The Manifest Station, The Nervous Breakdown, and The Rumpus, where she is now the Sunday co-editor. She graduated from Oberlin College and received an M.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Program for Writers. Born in Western Pennsylvania, she now lives in Evanston with her husband and two children. (May 10, 7pm, Evanston Public Library, Community Room, 1703 Orrington Ave.)

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